Cleveland Browns Pre-Camp Free Agency Targets

Cleveland Browns Pre-Camp Free Agency Targets

Nick Pedone
3 years ago
3 min read
Cleveland Browns Pre-Camp Free Agency Targets

The Browns are putting the final touches on what was another phenomenal offseason before reporting to camp later this month.

While the team addressed some serious needs, particularly on the defensive side of the football, here's a few more names worth taking a look at before officially kicking off the 2021 campaign.

5. Gareon Conley, CB

At just 26 years old, the Ohio-native and former Buckeye has yet to find an established home in the NFL.

He was a first-round selection to the Oakland Raiders in 2017 and was traded to the Houston Texans in 2019 for a third-round pick. He dealt with injuries in 2020, but is still currently a pending free agent.

Conley remains a solid option for the Browns, as he's a somewhat younger player who could be motivated by another chance in him home state. At the very worst, he would provide upgraded depth behind the Browns younger, blue chip corners like Denzel Ward and rookie Greg Newsome II. 

4. Justin Houston, EDGE

I'll say it in plain English. I'm surprised Justin Houston is still available.

At 32 years old, Houston probably is not going to find the big payday that some of the younger defensive ends found earlier in free agency. However, this is a guy that started all 16 games last season for the Indianapolis Colts and had 8 sacks while doing so.

The Browns could not guarantee him that sort of playing time with Myles Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney as the team's main bookends, but adding a veteran pass rusher given Clowney's injury history could prove to be beneficial.

3. Dede Westbrook, WR

I know, I know. The Browns are probably set at wide receiver. But if I am GM Andrew Berry, I am at least inviting Westbrook to training camp.

The Browns lacked speed at the wideout position once Odell Beckham Jr.'s season ended. They drafted Anthony Schwartz, but a team with Super Bowl aspirations should not be relying on a rookie receiver to carry a big load. Westbrook reportedly ran a 4.34 before the 2017 NFL Draft where he was a fourth-round choice.

Westbrook's college quarterback was Baker Mayfield, who he has been outspokenly supportive of, even as a member of the Jacksonville Jaguars.

2. Mitchell Schwartz, OT

The Cleveland Browns have the opportunity to right some wrongs with this one.

Before the 2016 combine, the Browns had offered Schwartz a contract in the ballpark of $7 million-a-year. However, the right tackle wanted to test his market in free agency and see what other options were out there.

Schwartz discovered the market wasn't solid for right tackles at the time, and he came back to the Browns before free agency opened and planned to accept their pre-combine offer. But the Browns had rescinded their offer and were no longer willing to pay him that sort of money.

Schwartz's wife is from Ohio. He wanted to remain with the team during their darkest hours. And they took back their offer. He ultimately landed with the Chiefs.

His brother, Greg Schwartz, congratulated him on Twitter, especially after the "nonsense" he endured throughout the day, presumably from the Browns. But now, Schwartz is available and could work as solid depth for Jack Conklin and Jedrick Wills, who have both had injuries in their Browns careers. Berry could undo the bad blood caused by Sashi Brown.

1. Steven Nelson, CB

I would love for the Browns to add one more outside cornerback and I would love for it to come in the form of a departed AFC North foe. Nelson had two interceptions with the Steelers in 2020 and would help solidify the new-look Browns defense.

The Browns still have the money to sign Nelson to a fair deal after releasing Sheldon Richardson.

The Steelers released Nelson for salary cap relief, but Nelson claims he was never given the opportunity to take a pay cut. Now, the 28 year old corner could have the chance to make his former team regret cutting him by signing a free agent deal with the Browns.

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